Songbook Sensation

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), December 6, 2005 | Go to article overview

Songbook Sensation


Byline: By Gordon Barr

Still wearing it well, Rod Stewart is back at the Metro Radio Arena tomorrow. Entertainment Editor Gordon Barr has the details

He was one of the first acts to play Newcastle's Arena. And, 10 years on, Rod Stewart is back.

But tomorrow's gig will be a far cry from what his fans saw a decade ago. Since then, Rod, famed for his pop classics, has carved out an equally-successful career singing American standards.

"The key to it all is trying to put my own stamp on these songs because they've been done so many times ( just not by someone who sang Hot Legs and Maggie May!" smiles Stewart, who released his multi-million-selling Great American Songbook Volume IV to great acclaim earlier this year.

"Since this album will be the last one for now, I wanted to make it really special," he adds.

What started out as something of a commercial long-shot and a true labour of love has quickly become a full-blown cultural phenomenon.

Stewart's first two Grammy-nominated collections of standards ( 2002's It Had To Be You. . .The Great American Songbook and 2003's As Time Goes By. . .The Great American Songbook, Volume II ( have already sold over 10 million copies and brought the veteran superstar to a new and even larger audience of all ages.

Even by the standards of a man who has sold more than 130 million albums worldwide, the public's loving embrace of them has been nothing short of stunning.

Stardust. . .The Great American Songbook: Volume III, continued that success, and was followed by Thanks For The Memory.

"I think it's an impossibility to run out of these songs," Stewart says. "I could probably make six albums of these songs quite easily. I've enjoyed this experience so much. I understand how much it's meant to me and to the fans, and I just want it to always remain something special.

"It's been very difficult choosing this time around. Every night we do a concert with Maggie May and Forever Young ( all the hits ( but I love it whenever these great American songs come around. …

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